Creationists use fraud to film professor of religion

September 10, 2007

It’s a familiar sounding story: College professor agrees to let a film crew in to hear him talk about his specialty. Film comes out later spouting creationist views, quite contrary to the professor’s views; much of what the professor did say is left on the cutting room floor.

A couple of years ago, I welcomed a camera crew into my office for some interviews about Old Testament stories. The crew went away and I never heard from them again, until I e-mailed the production company last week to find out what ever became of the footage. A representative of that company promptly e-mailed me back and kindly sent out a screener of the DVD that is scheduled to release in October.

I am not happy with the end result.

This time, however, it’s a professor of Christian religion complaining about the creationists doing to him what they do to biologists with unfortunate frequency. Chris Heard is an associate professor of religion at Pepperdine. Heard said:

. . . I’m a bit upset—no, incensed—at being threaded into a production that sets out to prove a whole bunch of stuff that I don’t agree with, much of which is demonstrably wrong. I suppose I have noone and nothing to blame but my own naïvete, in failing to ask the right questions before saying “Yes” to the camera crew.

The story sounds so familiar because hoodwinking biology profs about the film is old hat — the late D. James Kennedy got Francis Collins to do a long interview about his faith, and then inserted it into Kennedy’s scurrilous and false claims attempting to link Darwin to the horrors of the Holocaust. Collins is famous enough that they yanked his segment when he complained. Dawkins tells a famous story of a crew taping him under false pretenses, and then having the gall to claim Dawkins didn’t know his subject, when Dawkins realized what was going on, and on camera, called an end to the farce. And P. Z. Myers was recently victimized by a group working with Ben Stein for a bizarre farce against academic freedom and science accuracy.

Now we know just how low creationists will stoop in deceit for these films: They’ll lie to a professor of religion, and then they get the religious material wrong.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Pharyngula. And while you’re over at Heard’s blog, Higgaion, take a look around — it’s got some good stuff, including this post on his commentary on the Poseidon Adventure; the film-makers of the commentary on the fictional film got right what Prof. Heard said about Biblical themes. Oh, the irony of Hollywood — the fiction people get the Bible right, the creationists get it wrong. O tempora, O mores.

Pete Seeger: Standing taller than his critics

September 10, 2007

Some people can’t let go of the past, and like the greedy chimpanzee who grasps the rice in the jar, and then is trapped when he cannot pull out his fist nor will he give up his prize to save his freedom, they trap themselves out of a good life.

Like this fellow, whose father’s dislike of an old political position of Pete Seeger kept them both from a good concert. He appears to agree with his father, though, thinking that somehow Seeger is responsible for the evils of Stalinism, and complaining that Seeger was tardy in making note of the fact that Stalin was evil. And Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds agrees, profanely, and inaccurately, as I’ll explain below the fold. But heed this warning: I’m explaining at length.

Get a life, people! Pete Seeger did.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rwandan cleric shuts down Illinois church’s guest speaker

September 10, 2007

Several very conservative Episcopal congregations in the U.S. complained about the U.S. church’s ordination of gays, and other policies they considered “too liberal.” So, in a huff, they pulled out of association with other U.S. Episcopalians, and obtained affiliation with the Anglican Church in Rwanda, whom they considered more acceptable.

The buzzards have started coming home to roost. From a story in Christianity Today:

All Souls Anglican Church had invited Paul Rusesabagina, whose life was featured in the 2004 movie Hotel Rwanda, to speak during Sunday morning services. The Wheaton, Illinois, church, a member of the Rwandan-led Anglican Mission in America, invited him as part of a fundraiser to build a school in Gashirabwoba, Rwanda.

On Thursday, however, Emmanuel Kolini, the Anglican archbishop of Rwanda, asked All Soul’s pastor J. Martin Johnson to rescind the invitation.

Rusesabagina has been at odds with the president of Rwanda. The archbishop feared that the event could create a strain in the relationship between the Anglican Church of Rwanda and the government.

“Truly I am horrified that we could have such a negative impact without meaning to,” Johnson told Christianity Today. “I had no idea this was a controversial issue.”

Rwandan president Paul Kagame has criticized the Oscar-nominated movie Hotel Rwanda for inaccurately portraying the country’s 1994 genocide.

Hotel Rwanda highlights Paul Rusesabagina’s role as a hotel manager who saved more than 1,200 Tutsi refugees. An estimated 800,000 people were massacred during 100 days of the genocide.

Kagame disputed Hotel Rwanda‘s portrayal of Rusesabagina as a hero. Kagame has said that Rusesabagina happened to be there and that he happened to survive because he was not in the category of those being hunted.

Rusesabagina criticized Kagame in his 2006 autobiography An Ordinary Man, saying that Kagame surrounds himself with corrupt businessmen.

“The same kind of impunity that festered after the 1959 revolution is happening again, only with a different race-based elite in power,” he wrote. “We have changed the dancers but the music remains the same.”

Sometimes, when we defend human rights, we defend the rights of people we don’t agree with, and maybe even people we think to be sinners (though of course, such judgments are not ours to make). Wishing to avoid standing up for the rights of homosexuals in America, this congregation and all others in the U.S. who have joined the flight to Rwanda’s archbishop, now stand stupefied to discover they’re endorsing corruption in Rwanda’s government, at least so far as they cannot celebrate one of the precious few heroes who stood against the Rwanda genocide.

Who did the due diligence work on this deal?     Read the rest of this entry »

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